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4 Suspected Terrorists Held in Saudi Arabia

Officials say the men, from two groups, were planning attacks. Three people escape.

October 09, 2003|From Associated Press

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi security agents have captured four men suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, but three others escaped after a shootout, an official news report said Wednesday.

The Saudi Press Agency issued a statement by an unidentified Interior Ministry official saying the crackdown on two terrorist cells had foiled attacks that were in the early planning stages.

The official said agents, acting on a tip, arrested a member of a cell in Qassim, 220 miles northwest of the capital, Riyadh. The suspect said three of his colleagues were hiding at a nearby farm.

Police raided the farm Wednesday. Two security men were wounded in a firefight during a car chase with the three suspects, who took a bystander's car at gunpoint and escaped.

Agents uncovered arms and large quantities of chemicals used to make explosives on the farm, the official said.

An earlier tip identified a cell of three people in a desert area east of Riyadh, the official said. Security officials raided a hide-out Sunday and arrested all of them, he said.

The statement said the arrests in recent days involved two cells. It did not specify whether the groups were in contact or cooperation with each other. The official did not identify the men in custody.

The targets of the alleged plots were not identified.

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